Grateful – Juan Martinez Guevara

OUT ON THE HILL is the official blog of the Victory Congressional Interns. Views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of LGBTQ Victory Institute.

Although we are only two weeks into the program, the Victory Congressional Internship has already been an extremely formative experience. The program brought together 12 amazing individuals for an 8-week internship on Capitol Hill with Congressional members who either identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community or as an ally to the community. As Victory Congressional Interns we come from all over the country and have extremely different lived experiences. However, it is our common goal of advocating for our community that brings us together and, despite our many differences, has allowed us to grow close together in just a few short weeks. Indeed, I never anticipated growing this close to my cohort but looking back, it is hard to imagine not doing so. The individuals that were picked for this program are driven, intelligent, and inspiring. I aspire to be like them and in truth, simply being around them has already helped me become a much more confident person myself.

Apart from the individuals in my cohort, the program has also been amazing due to my placement in the office of Senator Tammy Baldwin. Working in a Senator’s office has allowed me to see how U.S. politics work, from constituent outreach to maintaining a Senator’s image to crafting and dealing with legislation. Getting this inside look at how Washington works has been empowering because it has allowed me to see myself as someone who can belong, and should belong, on the Hill.

The professional development sessions we have with the Victory Institute on Fridays are extremely helpful. They provide invaluable insight into how to make the most out of our internships by teaching us how to stand out, take on our own projects, and connect with people on the Hill.

Were it not for the support of the Victory Institute, this internship would certainly not be as rewarding as it has been so far. Although we are only two weeks into the program, I know VCI is an experience that will have a lasting and positive impact on my life. It is already giving me access to opportunities I never before anticipated obtaining. Moreover, it is transforming me into someone who can fight to attain these opportunities for myself. As someone who comes from a low-income community and identifies as queer, I am extremely grateful and appreciative of the resources and help Victory Institute is providing me with during my time on Capitol Hill.